CSU’s Early Childhood Center gets new playground, thanks to donors

Video by Allie Ruckman

The Early Childhood Center at Colorado State University now has a new dedicated playground for infants and toddlers, thanks to contributions from four donors.

At an Aug. 14 ribbon-cutting ceremony at the center, Department of Human Development and Family Studies Head Lise Youngblade explained to the audience the German phrase, “ein Herz für Kinder,” meaning those who have “a heart for children.”

That, she said, describes the hearts of the four donors, all of whom are CSU alumni: Peggy Noland, Bea Romer, and Karen and Greg Rattenborg.

“I’m so grateful for these four beautiful hearts,” Youngblade said.

Multiple roles

She went on to describe how the Early Childhood Center simultaneously serves as a childcare center for the community, a learning lab for CSU students and a setting for research.

Rattenborg, the executive director of the center, told the audience how important it is to have safe places for children to play outside during their first three years.

In his remarks, College of Health and Human Sciences Dean Jeff McCubbin noted that the Early Childhood Center was founded in 1929 and has served thousands of children. He described the background of the four donors, then invited the small crowd to gather at the entrance of the new playscape area for the ribbon-cutting.

Touring the space

After the donors and other guests toured the playground, toddlers from the Early Childhood Center were brought out to get their first look at their new play area, which includes a sandbox, small climbing structures, a shaded reading area, sun shelters and a miniature wooden kitchen complete with a water spigot for making mud pies.

Noland and Romer, a former first lady of Colorado, met at CSU. Both graduated in 1951 with degrees in childhood development.

“We love toddlers,” Noland said, noting that the pair has 25 great-grandchildren between them. “This has been a passion for us.”

“It’s important to have a place for children to feel comfortable and not afraid of acting out a bit,” Romer said.

“It’s the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives,” Rattenborg added. “I want to thank Bea Romer and Peggy Noland for their support to build the infant and toddler playscape for the littlest Rams we have here at CSU.”

The Department of Human Development and Family Studies is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.